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The Student News Site of Altoona Area High School

Mountain Echo

The Student News Site of Altoona Area High School

Mountain Echo

Faculty stops Genius Hour

Lincoln Frank
Getting work done. Students participated in the Genius Hour started last school year.

In the 2022-2023 school year, there were new ideas and practices brought to education. Among these changes was a day once a month where students were given the opportunity to work on something that they enjoyed. This change was none other than the introduction of Genius Hour.

As the current school year begins, people question whether or not the school will be having Genius Hour again. Instructional coach Michael Baker confirms that Genius Hour will not be held this year, although freshman seminar will include some similar elements.

“This year we decided that we won’t be doing Genius Hour, that’s mostly because we wanted to focus on freshman seminar and put our resources into that.” Baker said.

Genius Hour was, in part, dropped due to the student body having little interest in the program. Many students did not finish their Genius Hour projects, and many others didn’t start them.

“We got a lot of good projects, but there were a lot of projects that didn’t get finished and a lot that didn’t get started. So, we decided to make the focus of this year the new freshman seminar course, ” Baker said.

The resources that went into Genius Hour are now being put into other projects. One such project is the new freshman seminar program.

“The principals and myself had been talking about dropping Genius Hour and starting freshman seminar for a while, ” Baker said.

Freshman seminar will contain some elements that are similar to Genius Hour in practice, such as community projects; however, students will not be required to make individual projects.

“A version of Genius Hour is going to happen in freshman seminar. It’s going to be a community service project, and they won’t be directly creating anything, ” Baker said.

In the vein of freshman seminar, there is also talk about how it could be changed and given to other classes in a different capacity.

“There are discussions about how we take the idea of freshman seminar and give it to the other classes as well, ” Baker said.

Although AAHS has stopped doing Genius Hour, that doesn’t mean that it is over everywhere. Genius Hour still continues in other school districts outside of Altoona.

“There aren’t really any close enough in driving distance that we could go to, although in State College, there is a charter school that does Genius Hour, “ Baker said.

Despite the disappearance of Genius Hour during the 2023-2024 school year, there remains some possibility that it might make a return in the future.

“We did have discussions about Genius Hour over the summer, and the decision was made by the administrators that we would table it for this year and try to bring it back in some form the following year, ” Baker said.

As the sun sets on Genius Hour, freshman seminar rises as a new school wide program. However, Genius Hour might not be out of the picture just yet, and it may return to the school in a new form within future years.



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About the Contributor
Lincoln Frank
Lincoln Frank, Reporter
This is my second year on the newswriting staff. I mostly write opinion columbs on topics that I find important. This year, I plan to start a podcast with a friend on staff. After high shcool, I plan on majoring in marketing and eventually working in a marketing position.

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